Friday, October 05, 2012

Beautiful Kind

My TJ teacher has gone through various manglings of my name.  In the beginning, sometimes he would reverse the characters.  I am accustomed to getting several variations of my name over the years and just respond to them all but that is the first time someone kept saying my name backwards.  Then he started pronouncing it like "San Mateo" and backwards.  Then after an incident, he started pronouncing my name correctly.  Then a couple weeks later, it went back to "San Mateo" but in the right order.  I thought it was a bit odd because he is fluent in both Cantonese and Mandarin but I think the off pronunciation was when he thought it was Mandarin.

I kept thinking to correct him but always ended up answering the question or responding to the dialogue and then forgetting to correct my name.  Finally, last Saturday, an opportunity came up when we were both walking late to the park and he saw a new student from the Wednesday class and asked me what her name was, then commented on how her name started with the same character.  Now it's been four months since I started taking classes from this teacher so I guess he looked a little surprised.

As we were putting our stuff down by the tree, he explained that he had thought the second character meant "kind" as in sin6 loeng4 善良.  That was an interesting assumption among the many possibilities.  Maybe he thinks I'm kind.  However, he wasn't pronouncing it shan4 in Mandarin.  I said that I don't know those words (before looking them up just now).  I explained that my name is in Cantonese and wondered if he could figure out what the characters were.  He seemed to be thinking about the possible options for the second character and then said it has the radical for "girl" in it which makes it more feminine.  I was like... hm...?  No, it does not have the radical for "girl" in it.  But then we started class.

So let's take a look at the possible options for the second character.  The only character I see here with the radical for "girl" in it means "pregnant".  Maybe there are some other characters because my name's character actually isn't in this list either, otherwise what was he thinking.

Now there are some cool possibilities like "beautiful daybreak", "beautiful beginning", "beautiful heavenly body", "beautiful spirit", and "beautiful flourishing".  And there are some one can rule out such as "beautiful big clam", "beautiful groan", and "beautiful testicle".

Yesterday he pronounced my name correctly and asked if he got it right.  Let's see how long this keeps up.